Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer. (Hebrews 10:25)
Here's a question for you: what do you call a person who calls him/herself a Christian, yet isn't involved in church?
Well I don't know what you'd call that person, but here's my answer:
(Most likely) an unbeliever...(as in: not going to heaven, never really trusted Christ.)
Isn't that strong? Yes. Harsh? Perhaps. Biblical? Absolutely.
In New Testament times there was no such thing as a Christian who wasn't involved in church. It was just understood that if you were trusting Christ as your only hope of salvation, there was an overwhelming desire to be with people who also were born again, and serving Jesus with their gifts and talents.
Oh yeah, but we live in America...proud makers of rugged individualism and instant gratification. It's fine here to declare allegiance to the King, but avoid meeting with His subjects because of...whatever.
What is whatever? Well, whatever lame excuses people use to stop going to church...like:
Need to mow the lawn
Color of the carpet
Your excuse here _____________.
Am I saying you have to go to church to be saved? NO! And if the church you attend teaches that, it's time to leave as soon as possible. What I am saying is that if you have truly been saved and entered into a relationship with Jesus, it should be hard to keep you away from church. It is your one chance during the week to join other believers in worship, partake at His table, be shepherded by your pastor, and a thousand other things that are permanently unavailable at any other event in your life.
The bible tells us "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." This means you are in the very presence of the Father when you are at church! This is something you cannot experience by yourself or worshiping in the privacy of your home.
Not only that, when you skip church over long periods of time, you make yourself an easy target for Satan to take you out.
Does God love you more if you go to church? Nope. But the point is that you are the one that needs to worry about loving Him more as time goes by, and dropping out of church is a sure way to freeze your affections for the Father.
What does God call His children who decide to "worship God in the privacy of their homes"?
Deserters. Take another look at Hebrews 10:25...basically what you need to know is that Christ is supremely concerned about you being involved in a local fellowship of believers.
Well, there are many reasons, but let this poem remind you of just a few:
Empty churches and well-filled jails,
Empty churches and mankind fails;
Empty churches and liquor flows,
Empty churches and evil grows;
Empty churches and sin's in style,
Empty churches and youth goes wild;
Empty churches and wasted lives,
Empty churches and Satan thrives.
Empty churches and prayerless hearts,
Empty churches and Christ departs;
Empty churches and homes are sad,
Empty churches and men go mad;
Empty churches, no Pentecost.
Empty churches and souls are lost;
Empty churches and drunkards die,
Empty churches and orphans cry.
Empty churches and revivals cease,
Empty churches and crimes increase;
Empty churches and gamblers meet,
Empty churches and wrongs defeat;
Empty churches and war clouds roll;
Empty churches and no control;
Empty churches, forsaken pews,
Empty churches and bad, bad news.
Empty churches and nations blight,
Empty churches, O sad, sad sight!
Empty churches, men hate and kill,
Empty churches, and much ill will;
Empty churches, O sad the truth,
Empty churches, defeated youth.
Empty churches, it's bad to tell,
Empty churches, men go to hell
(W. E. Isenhour )